The Lyrics Contest

Photo courtesy of _april

There are bad lyrics. (“Tomorrow is Saturday. And Sunday comes afterward.”)
There are decent lyrics. (“Stop calling, stop calling. I don’t want to talk anymore. I left my head and my heart on the dancefloor.”)
There are good lyrics. (“You made a rebel of a careless man’s careful daughter. You are the best thing that’s ever been mine.”)
Then there are Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds lyrics.


Embodying all the post-punk glory of the 1980s, Cave’s lyrics speak to an emotional rawness that carry serious weight. So it’s with this in mind that we initiate the Lyrics Contest!

Your challenge: Create a set of lyrics that focus on a mysterious figure leading you somewhere. You can be led anywhere, and it can be any genre – paranormal, fantasy, romance, thriller, etc. The figure does not have to be human. There is no word or line limit.

You can also include any music or performances you have created to go along with your lyrics. Just upload it to YouTube and copy and paste the link into the description of your book. This is not a requirement for participation.

How to Enter:

1) Start something new
2) Write your entry, then press “publish now”
3) On the “details” page, tag your story as lyricscontest
4) Wait the hour or so it sometimes takes for your entries to appear below.

The deadline is Saturday, June 18 at 6pm EST. Then YOU determine the winners by hearting your favorite entries. The top hearted contest entries on Saturday, June 25 at 9PM will be reviewed by Figment moderators, who will choose the winner! The first place winner of this contest will receive two of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds‘ recently re-released albums, a Figment tote bag, a set of notebooks offered by Field Notes and will be featured on our blog and newsletter. The second place winner will receive one Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds album and a Figment tote. A third winner will be chosen at random, and will also receive one Nick Cave and the Bad seeds album and a Figment tote.

Contest Rules

1. One entry per person, please.
2. The promotion of your contest entry is not allowed on Figment. This includes self-promotion and the promotion of other users’ contest entries in the Figment forums, the comments and reviews of stories, and the Figment Facebook page. Independent promotion on sites unrelated to Figment, like personal Facebook or Twitter accounts, is fine.
3. Works must be submitted according to the instructions above between the announcement of the contest and the closure of the contest. Entries created before the start date or after the end date will not be included in the pages of contest entries and will be ineligible to win. This means a new book must be created for the contest; adapting an old work published before the start of the contest will make the entry ineligible to win.
4. The rules of the contest are both strict and open to interpretation by a moderator.
5. The creation of multiple accounts to heart or otherwise vote for your contest entry on Figment is prohibited, and may result in the disqualification of that entry, the deletion of your Figment account, and/or the blocking of your IP address permanently from the site, at the moderator’s discretion.


55 thoughts on “The Lyrics Contest

  1. How long does the set of lyrics have to be? And like do you want several verses or a chorus or something along those lines?

  2. I entered. I had a question about the music performance-
    So my song probably doesn’t sound as good unless it is sung how I imagine because I really get the spacing and echoes and such. I don’t have a youtube account so is there another way to present how it sounds?

    • Hi Rose

      We suggest YouTube because it’s free and easy to upload documents. You can also try Dropbox. Also, you can choose to have your video on YouTube unlisted, which means only people you give the link to will be able to view it. Feel free to email me at if you have any other questions.

  3. Okay, so what do you mean by leading you somewhere? because (don’t get any ideas here people :D), can they be leading them somewhere in a figurative way? not like to the grocery store or an alley, but leading them on, or leading them to failure or something like that?

  4. If we choose to record it and post it on a music sharing website (YouTube), does it have to be us singing? I’m a terrible singer, so I don’t think it will turn out anywhere near good otherwise.

  5. If Rebecca Black’s song is bad, you should watch “My Jeans”. It’s even worse.
    Friday has BAD LYRICS , but “My Jeans” has absolutely TERRIBLE lyrics.
    “Hannah Montana is wearing my jeans, Ashley Tisdale is wearing my jeans, Keke Palmer is wearing my jeans…”
    You get the point.

  6. So does it have to have a chorus and follow the standard verses, chorus, verses, chorus, bridge, chorus type structure or can it just be my own structure? I guess my struggle here is that I feel like I’m just writing a poem, and I feel like I’m doing the contest wrong.

    • Hi Rachel

      We want you to have creative freedom with this, so you can structure it any way you like. It can certainly be what you described above or you can follow any other standard structure. Feel free to email me at if you have any questions.

  7. If I post a youtube video then will you more look at the video or the lyrics? Because I like the lyrics and apparently my comments say others do to but I don’t think you can hear the real song unless you hear the way I think it… So which will you look at first or more?

    • The lyrics will the only concern. We do understand that music is a large part of how someone writes lyrics, so we are offering the opportunity to share it. It doesn’t actually affect the vote.

  8. Okay, thanks.
    Next question is actually sort of a mashup question about the prizes: So 2nd and 3rd are only different because of how they are found, not because of the prize, right? And I know that it isn’t up there but does the 1st place get a tote bag?

    • Hi Gretchen

      You can’t use previously recorded/published lyrics, and definitely don’t have to use Nick Cave as inspiration either for content, style or music. As long as the prompt is addressed, you can structure it and write it in any way you like. Feel free to email me at if you have any questions.

  9. Well, I entered the contest, and i’m doing really very well, but there’s a problem. it says that the winner will be announced on June 25th, but I will be in camp at that time with no way of getting on Is there anyway you could post the finalists on the 23rd?!

    • Hi Kimberly

      We have to honor the one week of voting, so we wouldn’t be able to post them sooner than that. Please feel free to contact me at if you have any questions. Best of luck!

  10. Can the mysterious figure be leading you to a state of being or a point in your life or something like that, instead of a place?
    (I don’t think I worded that question very well, but I tried…)

    • Hi Suki

      The prompt asks that the figure be mysterious, so yes. If you would like to have a big reveal and show that it was actually someone you knew (but didn’t realize it was), then the majority of the work should be about the mysterious figure. Feel free to email me at if you have any other questions.

  11. Just a quick question about the contest promotion rules- are we allowed to participate in swaps and ask for our contest story to be read? Most swaps don’t guarantee a heart or anything, but I always appreciate a comment or critique.

    • Hi Lilly

      If your only book is a contest entry, then no, you cannot participate in swaps. If you have other books, you can participate in swaps but cannot refer to your entry in any way. This includes asking users to read your entry in wall posts, comments and reviews on books; asking someone to read your newest or most recent work if that is a contest entry; asking users to read your only (or most recent/newest) short story or poem if it is a contest entry; asking users to read your most or least hearted entry if that is a contest entry; specifically mention your contest entry in any way during swaps, etc. Feel free to email me at if you have any other questions.

  12. Hi,
    How do you write lyrics? How do you format it?
    Should I write it like a poem or should it be in paragraphs.

    • Hi PD

      There’s a fine line between poetry and lyrics, so you’ll have to be careful. Poetry is written with meter in mind, but lyrics are written with music in mind – they are meant to be sung, not spoken. If you do a quick Google search, there are a slew of tips on writing lyrics, and what popular structures they have (are they free verse, ballads, have a verse/chorus/bridge?). Feel free to email me at if you have any questions.

  13. What I’m getting from your “lyrics” is that you want us to write a few lines of descriptive words. Is that right? Do they have to rhyme?

    • Hi Larissa

      There are a number of different structures that lyrics can take, so we’re leaving that up to you. And it can be free verse, yes. Feel free to email me at if you have any other questions.

  14. So I’m a bit confused about how the winners are picked… Will the most hearted entry win, or do the Figment moderators choose a winner out of, let’s say, the top five hearted pieces?

    • Hi Marlin

      The top two entries at the end of the voting period will become the first and second place winners. The third winner will be chosen at random by Figment moderators.

  15. How on earth do all of the names fit in a bowl? (My first reaction. I’m not sure how they’d fit in a hat, either)

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